UK Championship: David Grace earns his biggest payday

David Grace
David Grace is enjoying his best ever run at a major tournament

World number 81 David Grace says he has "never seen money like it" after guaranteeing a minimum payday of £20,000 for his run to the quarter-finals of the UK Championship.

Grace, who first turned professional in 2008, secured the biggest win of his career by beating Peter Ebdon 6-2 in the fourth round at the York Barbican.

The 30-year-old cleans the snooker tables at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds and, before his run in York, has only earned £13,416 in 18 months.

"The money's welcome. You could say that. It's been mad," Grace told BBC Sport.

"I've been around a long time and have done nothing in the game so I was due a run in something."

Grace, whose appearance in the quarter-finals is his best performance in a ranking event, earned a two-year card to stay on the snooker tour last summer.

But he was struggling to make ends meet before a run to the last 16 at the Shanghai Masters earned a much-needed £8,000.

In his first five years as a pro, Grace earned £32,703.

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This season he has earned £28,500 and will get another £10,000 if he beats either Martin Gould or Joe Swail in the last eight.

The money earned will help pay for his upcoming wedding to Gemma and planned house move.

But Grace's primary concern was his form on the table, and he was pleased with how he played against Ebdon.

Grace took full advantage of a couple of fluked reds in the first and third flame to score 50-plus breaks and take a 2-1 lead.

He came through a painstaking fourth frame in which Ebdon played on despite needing five snookers and then scored his third half-century of the match on his way to building a 5-1 lead.

But world number 34 Ebdon, the 2006 UK Championship winner and a former world champion, hit back but Grace closed out the victory.

"Peter is as tough as they come," Grace added.

"I was a bit lucky in the first couple of frames when I had the flukes and made breaks off them.

"When you are having a good week that kind of thing happens but you have to take advantage of it."

"A week ago yesterday I was playing in the first round but now I am in the quarters and I have earned 20k. You can change things quickly in the big tournaments."

Grace, a keen artist who draws pictures of his fellow players, sketched a picture of Ebdon in the build up to the match and joked: "I was under more pressure drawing him than I was playing him.

"It took me about an hour and normally I take a lot longer."

But Grace's day job is not as an artist, it's cleaning the snooker tables back in Leeds - and he still plans to return to work next week.

"It was murder trying to get someone to cover for me this morning. But I'll be back to that on Monday," he quipped.

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